QUESTION

Keegs!

Ready for season kick-off? Sounds like the boys are in good shape, I follow a couple of them on twitter now.

Keen to get some advice, I’m starting with the Kiama Rugby League club next week in an S&C role. I’m sure there will be some decent athletic specimens amongst the group.

Kiama Knighta

The set up is that I provide 1 face to face S&C session per week and a program for the coaching staff to carry out a smaller S&C component before their main skills session later in the week. That is the agreed service but obviously outside of that I will give advice on recovery, match-prep, prehab etc. I’m sure there will be also players amongst the group who are keen to talk more and do some individual stuff outside of the team program which is great and which I’m pretty confident I can give them a quality program with the training, nutrition, lifestyle stuff we’ve been looking at over the past few years. But I really want to make sure I am still providing quality group sessions for everyone with the right training focus to translate into improved on-field performance.

I will be working with the U18, Reserve Grade and 1st Grade squads and will have the assistance of the team coaches to help run sessions. The sessions are field based, although they do have access to a small gym within their dressing sheds. I am meeting the 1st Grade head coach this weekend to check out the facilities and equipment they have. I have just ordered a prowler from rock solid fitness and still have my sled and a few med balls. I will have about 8 weeks with the group prior to the first competition match. On top of this most guys have a couple of weeks general conditioning under their belts which I think is basically a few road runs.

I guess the advice I am after is two-fold:

1. What would your key focus areas be?/What are the most important physiological qualities of a rugby league player?

2. On a limited budget, what do you feel is the most important training equipment to have for this kind of group? (good for versatility and good for results)

If you are keen to talk more I can jump on skype later this week otherwise it’d be good to hear your thoughts to make sure I’m pointed in the right direction. First session with the team is Tuesday.

On another note, I met an interesting guy who owns Rock Solid Fitness at Unanderra, you might know him already, Peter Wetherall, he is the president of Australian Powerlifting Association and national champion in the masters division, has a bag full of national records and a world record. Chatted with him for about an hour and checked out all the equipment he has in his warehouse gym.

Good luck with the upcoming season.

ANSWER

Awesome mate ! I’m excited for you. I wish I had the chance to start with a group like that. I’m sure you’ll have some real training virgins as well as a few stars in the group.

Characteristics of quality rugby league players :

1. A lot of muscle mass !  Generally a group of rugby league players stand out in a crowd because they’re heavier than everyone else. I did a weight analysis of the NRL before I moved to France and found that average squad weight was heaviest to lightest almost the same as the competition ladder at the end of the season! It may have been a coincidence but I doubt it. Origin and Australian teams were heaviest overall.

2. Powerful – The trend towards players from the pacific islands and indigenous players over the last few years in Rugby league like in NFL shows that getting the powerful guys fit for league is easier than making the average white kid dynamite. Weston Price principles are also at play here.

Which skull would you rather playing rugby league!?

Which skull would you rather covering your brains ?

3. Run fast but not that often – GPS data shows that even the busiest players are unlikely to run more than 10km in 80min. Most do closer to 6km. 6 km in 80 mins means most of the game is spent stationary, walking or jogging! Bottom line acceleration and change of direction are the name of the game in League. Leave the road runs to the skinny old guys in short shorts.

4. Get dirty – If you’ll concede that running endurance is only a small factor in performance why are players so tired after games?? Try wrestling a bear and pushing your car up a hill and you might have a clue what it’s like playing league! Personally I’d rather cross a six-lane highway than try and tackle Fui Fui Moi Moi 1vs1!. Play games that look and feel like RL if you want them to be good at RL.

Fui Fui Moi Moi - Endurance athlete?

Bottom line – If you can wrestle, build muscle mass, move heavy shit, accelerate, learn to be deceptive and put it all into game situations you’re not far from being a Rugby League player!

[wpvideo 9BIfIfrt]

I’d test power (Counter Movement Jump. Standing Long Jump) and speed (5m, 10m, 20m, 40m + an agility test)  straight up as well as repeat speed / prowler to death (1min heavy max distance). If you get better at this stuff you’ve done most of your job at least on paper. Chin-ups and push-ups with controlled tempo might have to do the job for strength? 1 arm push-ups and pistols for the strong / skinny guys.

If you actually want the team to win you need to get blokes better at moving in-game situations and then do that under fatigue.

Extras

Nutrition will be 62% of your body composition success or failure so have a go at talking nutrition. Presentations, handouts, audio files etc.

Prehab – prevent injury with quality warm-ups and some screening tools.

Equipment? What’s the budget.. you don’t really need much more than what you’ve got but you can have more fun with more stuff.

What did the team come last year? What’s the coach like??

What’s your plan so far!?!

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About keegansh

My dream is to be strong and healthy. I want to change the world by helping other people to live their dreams. I'm currently working as Head of Strength, Power and doing the Nutrition for the Sydney Roosters Rugby League team in Sydney. I'm interested in olympic lifting, powerlifting, nutrition and almost everything else. I blog because I want to share what I learn on my quest for wisdom! Life is better when shared!

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